the secret of 3 of the most anti fragile marketplaces on the internet—because it’s where our loved ones live.

WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Nextdoor are the most anti fragile marketplaces on the internet, and their secret is authenticity—a combination of trust, safety and control.

Here are the 3 of the most ‘well lit’ places on the internet today.

1.WhatsApp: The people we have on our WhatsApp are people we’ve eaten together with, travelled together with, we’ve lived together with, we know them. Transparently.

2.LinkedIn: The people we interact with on LinkedIn know this is their professional identity, it’s the lead domino in everyones life after physical and spiritual well being. This makes LinkedIn an authentic extension of yourself.

3.NextDoor: Nextdoor isn’t available where I live, but this is the only social network I imagine my kids using.

The Common Thing here is authenticity, the core value of these products is authentic users which makes for a self reinforcing loop of trust, safety and control.

WhatsApp is anti fragile because it is 10x better than SMS even today. It is the a private space in your phone you keep only your closest of friends. In fact, WhatsApp is so anti fragile because people use it to keep in touch with immediate family. We are the most authentic with our family.

LinkedIn is anti fragile because the effort to populate a similar network is close to impossible because and the historical precedence is, monopolies like LinkedIn do not get ‘disrupted’ for a long time. Professional networks by design are are anti fragile because the first question we ask someone when we first meet them is, “what do you do?”, even if we do not ask this question, we are always curious. Work has always been an immutable part of human identity. We are largely authentic in our professional lives because our livelihood depends on it.

Nextdoor is anti fragile because of the same reason local communities are, not even the industrial revolution could do much to them. Local communities are 1 of the immutable aspects of the human condition. We know if we are authentic with our neighbours, they will reciprocate, we support them when they need us because we know they will do the same for us.

How LinkedIn optimises for Authenticity: We’ve all heard of unconscious bias and how difficult it is to prevent it. I think unconscious bias is an immutable human factor. Authenticity is the only way you can optimise for unconscious bias. When you share your view of the world with your professional network, you are intentionally signalling potential hiring managers, companies and co-workers. With expressing your opinions comes authenticity.

Imagine the impact if everyone on LinkedIn starts voicing their world view twice as openly, as a result more jobs will be filled faster, with fundamentally better fits and the economic outcome will be massive.

How WhatsApp optimises for Authenticity: WhatsApp by design is tied to your real identity, tied to your phone number, which you share only with highly trusted people.

How Nextdoor optimises for Authenticity: it holds you accountable to your local community.

Network defensibility and Anti Fragility are mutually exclusive. For instance, network defensibility is a product of mass adoption and lock in mechanisms.

How LinkedIn is defensible: Because everyone has joined LinkedIn, making everyone join another professional network even with infinite resources is futile, remember Google plus? Sidenote: I think lunchclub is definitely onto something because they’re building high trust network graph, from the get go. This will give them a leg up on who trust who how much.

Anti Fragility is a product of designing an organisation which gains from disorder, which is a constant exercise in first principles mindset, being comfortable with change and being ready, willing and eager to expand your comfort zones.

How Facebook gained from disorder: WhatsApp growth numbers were showing the shift of users to private groups, Facebook probably knew from behavioural data from Facebook the product as well, Instagram is similar, which reminds me of Steve Jobs, he had the pictures thing figured out way back, perhaps because he of all people understood, vividly, love. It is not the iPhone but pictures of our loved ones which keep us hooked, ultimately(yes noodle this, you use slack on your iPhone? why do you work? so people will appreciate you, love you). Subconsciously we start getting attached to the phone because of this. It’s where our loved ones live.

Let us optimise for trust, safety and control on our phones.

Because it’s where our loved ones live

Learn a bit more about Network Effects here
Lead Domino / Eigen Question
Lock-in Mechanism

Author: Usman Gondal

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